Discount Joe Manchin Kurt Schrader Real Sad That Oregon Democrats Preferred Actual Democrat
Soon-to-be-former Rep. Kurt Schrader from Oregon has given his first interview after losing May’s Democratic primary. He didn’t offer his congratulations and best wishes to the winner, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and he doesn’t seem ready to “vote blue no matter who.”
Instead, during his KATU whine fest, Schrader predicted that the red wave is coming and starts with his upset loss. “That’s unfortunate,” he added glumly. He clearly thinks a lot of himself and seemingly lacks any capacity for self-reflection about his defeat.
SCHRADER: We ran a textbook campaign. It showed good results in part of the district that I already represented that are suburban/rural, but you move me into Portland, that's not Kurt Schrader's crowd, per se.
Schrader’s district was redrawn last year, so a textbook campaign might’ve adapted to his constituency, unless that textbook was called How Complacent Politicians Lose Primary Races. He chose to run in the new Fifth Congressional District, which includes all those commies in Portland. They aren’t “Kurt Schrader’s crowd,” he claims.
Portland is Oregon’s largest city. It’s beautiful even when it’s raining, and the people are nice. More importantly, they’re Oregonians just like the suburban residents of Clackamas County. If you’re a congressional representative from Oregon, your “crowd” should include everyone in the state.
Also not part of the Schrader clique is Bend, which he dismissed as "extremely liberal.”
SCHRADER: A lot of folks there from Seattle and California in the last 10 years, and I think that made a huge difference.
Considering that a Congress member’s job is to represent the people who live in their district (it’s right there in the title), Schrader made a strong argument for why he was no longer up for the job. But he insists he’s not so out of touch. It’s the Oregon voters who are wrong.
SCHRADER: I think the Democratic Party has moved quite a bit to the left, moving out from underneath me. The socialist wing of the party has taken over and that’s their opportunity to elect somebody different.
HIs bullshit rightwing talking points are bullshit. As McLeod-Skinner observed during their primary debate, Schrader has shifted so far to the right that running to his left just makes her a mainstream Democrat. There are just four self-identified Democratic Socialists out of 220 Democrats. If someone served you a wing that small, you’d send it back.
McLeod-Skinner doesn’t identify as a socialist, but she does advocate for "a responsive government that provides critical physical and social infrastructure.” She believes "we need to invest in affordable housing, healthcare, homecare, childcare, special and early childhood education, debt-free community college and trade programs.” This is some of the good stuff from President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better package that Schrader helped tank.
House Democratic leadership and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fully support McLeod-Skinner, who will face Republican nominee Lori Chavez-DeRemer in November. DeRemer opposes minimum wage increases and supports an almost total abortion ban. We don’t need her in Congress.
Schrader is such a centrist scorned that he's not only declining to endorse the woman who defeated him in the congressional primary but he also said there’s a “significant chance” he’ll endorse independent Betsy Johnson for governor over actual Democratic nominee Tina Kotek. His reasoning is weak sauce centrist nonsense.
“I think people are exhausted with the extreme, far-right Trumpites. I think they’re very concerned about the socialist drift on the Democrat left,” Schrader said. “So that opens up the middle.”
So, on the Right, we have a fascist death cult led by the guy who incited an attack on the Capitol, and on the Left, there’s folks who want to keep kids from getting gunned down in school and maybe address the climate crisis, if that’s not too much trouble.
Here’s what Schrader might accomplish from the middle with his obvious protest vote: Oregon isn’t a liberal mirror version of West Virginia. Governor Kate Brown won re-election in 2018 — a great year for Democrats — by just seven points.That doesn’t give much room to fool around with independent candidates. Schrader should understand this, so maybe his final fuck you to Oregon and the Democratic Party is helping making Republican nominee Christine Drazan governor.
Tina Kotek is a perfectly reasonable Democrat, who has served in the Oregon House of Representatives for 15 years. She was the House speaker since 2013. She’s hardly part of a “socialist drift,” unless that’s the new rightwing code for “lesbian.” We’re witnessing the harm a Republican governor can inflict on a near daily basis. Oregon having a Republican governor when Roe falls is not a prospect anyone should take lightly.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."